The spate of recent crimes in showbiz involving Meenakshi Thapa and Simran Sood and the twist involving Anuj Tikku have raised questions over what makes Bollywood wannabes take such extreme steps. According to industry insiders, the urge to become the next big thing and the greed to earn more money compel them to commit such gruesome crimes.
Aspiring model Thapa's murder adds weight to the factors pointed out by showbiz insiders.
Thapa, who was shooting for Madhur Bhandarkar's "Heroine", was brutally murdered by junior artists Amit Jaiswal and Preeti Surin. Thapa is said to have told them that she belonged to a rich family. In a bid to earn easy money, Preeti and Amit decided to abduct her and later killed her. Thapa did small roles in films like "404".
"Struggling actors are exploited on an everyday basis. It is the pressure of money. When there is no hope, such things do happen," filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri told IANS.
"I feel whatever is happening is very bad. People who come from small towns have no idea how the industry functions. They have to pursue their dreams and at the same time they have to survive in a city like Mumbai. After doing one or two films, when they don't get work and they can't even go back home they are compelled to do such things," he added.
Aspiring model-actress Simran Sud was accused of kidnapping filmmaker Karan Kakkad. Sud, along with former associates of gangster Santosh Shetty, allegedly abducted Kakkad last month and killed him.
Actor Anuj Tikku, who was seen in small roles in films like "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi" and "Rann", was initially accused of killing his father Arunkumar Tikku. According to the police, Anuj is mentally disturbed and was receiving treatment at a hospital in Jaipur for the past four-five years and his father disapproved of him staying alone. The father was even said to be against his wild parties' lifestyle.
It later emerged that mobster Vijay Palande was the elder Tikku's killer and zeroed in on him after the son boasted he had enormous properties in Delhi, Gurgaon and Mumbai.
"Nobody comes here to make money, everybody wants to be famous. Pressure of money comes once the question of survival comes. After doing one film they have to match the lifestyle of the others. They have to buy a car, have a driver, go partying, wear nice clothes and many get stuck in this pressure," said Agnihotri.
Director Sujoy Ghosh says it is important for such people not to be aggressive with their passion.
"One needs to get practical and not aggressive with their passion. You have to be practical about life when you realize nothing is happening; you have to move on," said Ghosh.
"I believe there is a lot of pressure with whatever dreams they are willing to pursue. I myself have gone through this some time back. It all depends on how maturely you handle the situation. But it is really sad when we hear some horrifying stories. I don't know what's the solution for this. It is a lesson to be learnt," he added.
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt says he feels sad when youngsters choose the wrong path to fulfil their dreams.
"Strugglers are in their dream space. They come here with lots of dream and at times they choose the wrong path which is heartbreaking. It is not easy to become somebody. I strongly believe these strugglers are seeking for fame which leads to money. After all, money comes with fame," he said.
According to actor Anoop Soni, who hosts "Crime Patrol", a show that picks up crime cases and brings them to the viewers by reconstructing the crime scene with actors, feels greed and jealousy make people commit such gruesome crimes.
"The major reason behind first-time criminals committing such gruesome crimes is very basic - the feeling of frustration, greed and jealously. When for some the feeling that 'why don't I have what you have' overshadows and that is the point when these gruesome crimes take place," said Soni.
Another case from showbiz which created headlines was that of Maria Susairaj, who along with her fiance was accused of killing TV producer Neeraj Grover but spent only three years in prison. Actress Monica Bedi is only now managing to resume her career after getting into legal trouble after her linkup with gangster Abu Salem.
And there was the case of actress Priya Rajvansh, the live-in partner of director Chetan Anand, who was murdered by his sons in 2000 because they feared she was eyeing their father's property in Mumbai.
(Priyanka Sharma and Uma Ramasubramaniam can be contacted at email@example.com